Depression cuts deep

Prevention key to avoid higher costs, disability: Studies
By Sarah Dobson
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 03/22/2010

Workers who have had a disability leave related to a mental illness are seven times more likely to have another disability episode related to that illness. And even employees with depression who have been treated with antidepressants suffer significant productivity losses, such as absenteeism, disability leave and presenteeism, according to two recent studies looking at mental illness.

“With mental health, I don’t think employers really understand the chronicity of it, the chronic nature of mental illness,” said Susan Novo, manager of health and disability at Cowan Insurance Group in Ottawa.

Physical ailments are often short term and even a chronic problem such as a back strain can be accommodated, but mental health is much different, she said.